The Types of Content in B2B Marketing Strategy
Discover how you can use the different types of content marketing strategy to improve your conversion rates.
Published: 17 Mar 2021
5 minutes read
At the centre of every successful B2B digital marketing plan is a content marketing strategy. Content is used to educate people, helping solve their problems and pain-points - gradually moving them down the sales funnel. Content comes in various shapes and sizes and requires careful consideration of the different points in the buyer’s journey and the principles of inbound marketing. Understanding how the different elements of B2B content marketing work together can be confusing at first glance.
From prospects, right through to customers – we’ve detailed the content types and formats to use for wowing your audience and increasing your conversion rates.
Attracting prospects – blogging
The first step in any content marketing strategy is attracting visitors to your site, which blogging is perfect for. Blogs are a great platform for showcasing your brand’s personal and human side, while solving their problems and addressing their pain-points.
A large proportion of your blog readers are most likely going to be in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. In the awareness stage, prospects have identified a potential problem or query and are searching the web for advice. In this instance, prospects will not be interested or receptive to your services or company-specific details.
Instead, present your audience with educational content. It’s acceptable to discuss your company’s viewpoints and experiences with clients, but only if these points contribute to the educational context of your blog and not just an unrelated sales pitch.
It’s highly recommended to showcase your expertise and knowledge within blog posts, but don’t try to cover too much ground. Stick to one topic and include sub-headings for an easy-to-read blog. White space and images should also be incorporated to make reading more digestible.
To ensure your blog is easily found by search engines and organic website visitors, always practise search engine optimisation. Include relevant, keywords in your copy, headline, meta description and image alt text. Keep titles under 60 characters and meta descriptions under 140 characters, or risk Google cutting off your words on search result previews.
If your blog has been crafted with the right approach, by the time a prospect has finished reading the post, they will have identified their problem and will now be looking for possible solutions. This is where downloadable content should be used.
Downloadable content is undoubtedly the most important element of a B2B content marketing strategy, bridging the gap between prospects becoming leads. Typically, this content type will sit behind a form, which prospects have to fill in to receive the content offer.
Downloadable content can be in the form of a guide, e-book, infographic, checklist etc. The only aspect which needs to remain constant is the goal of the content piece: to offer a solution to the prospect’s problem which helps them convert into a lead.
Guides and ebooks
Guides and e-books should build upon the problems raised in associated blog posts, offering a specific solution. When creating these content types, go into as much detail as possible – showcasing your company’s expertise and knowledge of the subject matter. Backing up content with statistics, quotes and research points helps to add authority and substance. Like blog content, the focus should still be purely educational. The prospect is still not ready to buy at this stage so refrain from mentioning your company with a sales-pitch angle.
For example, if your guide or e-book was a step by step to creating a social media strategy, it wouldn’t be enough to summarise the elements of social media channels in your guide. A descriptive analysis of the different writing styles, tools and best practices should be included.
Within any e-book or guide, there are a few key features to include:
- Create an impactful front cover which sells in the value of your content, whether it is located in an email, landing page or thumbnail
- Always use an index page: letting prospects quickly jump to relevant sections
- An introduction should also be included which summarises the main topic covered as a confirmation to your readers that the piece is relevant to them
- If exceptionally lengthy - covering several steps, use images and diagrams to make your piece easy to follow and understand
- Although you will be covering a lot of in-depth information, it shouldn’t read like a fact sheet. Keep the style friendly and conversational to keep reader’s engaged
Infographics are an excellent platform to transform dull stats into an engaging visual story and can be used in several different stages of your inbound marketing strategy. They could be implemented into a blog post to add weight to a particular topic, or shared through social media to add a visual element to posts. An infographic can also be used as a downloadable content offer, but only if the value of the infographic is worth enough for your prospects to supply their contact details, e.g. unique research and statistics.
In can be tempting to just throw a heap of stats into an infographic. However, just because an infographic is a collection of stats, there still needs to be structure. Ideally, your infographic should be topical and present evidence to support an argument. For example, we recently compiled an infographic relating to Google’s mobile algorithm update. The infographic explains why every business needs a mobile site, with statistics to back-up our argument.
Of course, imagery is arguably the most important feature of an infographic, as images give life to your statistics. Use a consistent, and brand-relevant selection of images. If you have your own graphic department that can create these, then even better. If not, always abide by copyright restrictions – using either free images which are available for public use, or purchase images from stock sites such as Shutter Stock.
Check-lists and planners
These content types are different from other elements of a content marketing strategy. Rather than just educating people and solving problems, check-lists and planners are designed to be actively used by your audience while they are working, such as a team management planner to increase productivity, or a checklist of questions to ask when selecting a cloud collaboration software provider.
You may think that offering your prospects valuable content that enables them to effectively do your job is unproductive? Consider this: readers of your planner or checklist are unlikely to be experts in your field. The purpose here is to subtly highlight your company’s expertise and knowledge, as well as requirements and resources which go into your service, helping warm up prospects to the idea of using you as a possible vendor or service provider.